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From Barnes & NobleThe Barnes & Noble Review
Continuing the monastic adventures of 1995's Tales of the Knights Templar and 2002's Crusade of Fire: Mystical Tales of the Knights Templar, editor Katherine Kurtz presents 11 more original stories that further explore the myths and legends of the noble order of the white-mantled knights whose mission it was to protect pilgrim routes to the Holy Land during the Crusades.
Included in the collection are stories by Diane Duane, Andre Norton, David and Alexandra Elizabeth Honigsberg, and Kurtz herself. In Duane's "Blank Check," a knight working as the head of a chapter treasury in Tripoli has his faith tested when a mysterious woman demands the unthinkable. Deborah Turner and Robert Harris's "The Company of Three" chronicles the last moments before the fall of a besieged city, when two devoted knights try to steal a terrifyingly powerful religious relic away from Islamic invaders. Norton's "Stonish Men" tells the story of the very last of the Knights Templar. Desperately fleeing for their lives on the high seas, a small group of knights reach the New World.
Also notable in this collection are the highly informative interludes after each story in which Kurtz briefly discusses the historically relevant aspects of the narrative. In the nearly 200 years of their existence and in the centuries that have elapsed since then, there has been much speculation as to the real purpose of the Knights Templar. Fans of historical fiction with strong religious themes -- like Stephen R. Lawhead's Celtic Crusades saga -- will surely enjoy this collection of absorbing short stories about the enigmatic warrior-monks. Paul Goat Allen